Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Can't say we didn't warn you

Last December I said that if The Liberal Party proved itself to be a self interested, unreliable coalition partner than the NDP would take that into account the next time a coalition was negotiated. That absent a coalition New Democrats and left leaning voters in general would see little reason in the future to vote for one arrogant right wing neoconservative over another. I wasn't the only one giving similar warnings.

Nonetheless, expect the reaction from Liberals to Brad Lavigne's straightforward declaration of war and signal of the intent to fight to win the inevitable impending election to be the fits, the shits and the blind staggers.

“Mr. Layton has written a book about investing in Canadians and their communities. Mr. Ignatieff has written books defending torture,” said Lavigne.

“Mr. Ignatieff has defended and supported the war in Iraq … If Mr. Ignatieff or Mr. Harper were prime minister in 2004, Canada would still be in Iraq today.”

Lloyd Axworthy warned last October of the political 'death wish' of right wing pro-corporate Liberals who in defiance of the facts, the polls and simple common sense believed the future of the Liberal Party was to the political right.

One major question mark in all this will be the Liberal leadership contest, already under way in sub rosa fashion. Will a leader emerge who is willing to take a chance and be ready to embrace, indeed take a lead in forming, a different kind of political constellation? Or will there be a push by that faction of the party that believes a return to right-of-centre politics will offset the present Conservative advantage.

To this death wish, I am reminded of the comment of Keith Davey, renowned Liberal party organizer, who said that Canadians given a choice will always vote for a real Tory, not a pseudo-Tory in Liberal clothing.

At least it can be said that Liberals didn't choose the bottle of hemlock; it was chosen for them, in the backrooms, without any of that messy democracy that has a distressing tendency of not putting the needs of the elites first. The draught will be no less fatal because of it, probably more so in fact.

The NDP's numbers have been trending upwards, the Liberals have no where to go but down - as Campbell Clark pointed out today Michael Ignatieff is sitting where St├ęphane Dion was a year ago, and counting on breakthroughs in the west and a phoenix like restoration in Quebec isn't so much a political strategy as a desperate prayer for divine intervention.

Liberals, we intend to cut your grass. Debates about name changes are mere sideshow and the smugly inevitable and perennial predictions of the NDP's demise begin to take on the whiff of desperate hope. Stephen Harper may lose the election but we intend to make the price of the Liberals winning it a dear one.

The next coalition will be on the NDP's terms. Expect Michael Ignatieff to experience an unconvincing road to Damascus moment and be transfigured into a born again progressive out to protect the interests of the Canadian public against those of the Canadian elites. This will be simply bowing to the inevitability of political reality.

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